Dear St Luke’s Family,
It is with sad hearts that we write to you about changes with our building use and worship plans. Given the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in our county and community, in consultation with synod recommendations and health guidelines, our Council has made the difficult, but unanimous decision to suspend all in-person worship, effective immediately. We will re-evaluate in-building worship in the weeks ahead and will continue to communicate as quickly as we are able and in as many forms as possible.
The Church Council has established a three-point metric by which we will determine scaling back attendance for in-building gatherings. In order for us to gather at the extent to which we have been these past few months, cases per 100k must be at or below 25/100k, which is what the Synod had recommended as a baseline for suspending in-building gatherings. We will evaluate various ways of scaling back based on our three-point metric:
- Cases/100k: ≤50
- Infection rate: ≤1.2
- Positive Test Rate: ≤10%
If these metrics are lower than the above numbers, the leadership will discuss smaller gatherings.
As of the writing of this letter, our county is far exceeding all three of these metrics, and it is because of this that we have made the difficult, but loving decision to suspend all in-person gatherings, effective immediately, with the exception of Play and Learn Preschool and God Works meals. We will begin all-remote worship this Sunday, November 22, which will be Livestreamed on Facebook and will also take place on Zoom. We will continue to communicate with you in as timely a manner as possible. Please be sure to follow us on Facebook, via email communications, etc. If you do not have access to any of these means of communication, please be sure to follow up with us by phone. Things may change rapidly from week-to-week and we will do our best to communicate as quickly and broadly as possible.
In-building office work will also be limited, with as much work being done remotely as possible. Calls to the church office will be forwarded to Erin Beard, and both pastors will also be available by phone as needed. Please know that we are committed to caring for each one of you but want to do so in a way that considers everyone’s health and safety as our priorities. Any other necessary building use needs to be limited to no more than two households gathered at the same time, until such a time that the metrics improve.
We are all feeling the sadness of being unable to gather safely, but it is out of a great love for one another and one another’s safety that we make these difficult decisions. We continue to pray and worship God, even as we must do so from a distance to care for all of our friends, family, and community. Each one of you is an important part of our community, and it is out of our concern for you that we make this choice. Please continue to pray for one another, for our church community and its leaders who have risen to the challenge of helping us to navigate this season of our lives. Pray for our elected officials and all medical workers as they continue to work to bring an end to the pandemic so that we might be able to gather safely again soon. And know that you are lifted and carried in prayer during these days. We may be physically separated, but now, more than ever, we must be united in prayer and find other ways to be, to strengthen, and to be strengthened by our community of faith. Be well, be safe, and we will see you in all the myriad ways we are able in the days and weeks ahead.
Pastor Robyn Kistemaker
Pastor Kari Rinas
Denzil Bell, Council President